Jack Leslie (footballer)

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Jack Leslie
Jack Leslie.jpg
Personal information
Full name John Francis Leslie[1]
Date of birth (1901-08-17)17 August 1901
Place of birth Canning Town, England
Date of death 1988 (aged 86–87)
Playing position Inside left
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
Barking Town
1921–1935 Plymouth Argyle 384 (133)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

John Francis "Jack" Leslie (17 August 1901 – 1988) was an English footballer who played as an Inside left.

Born to a Jamaican father in Canning Town, Leslie was the only professional black player in England during his time with Plymouth Argyle. He was set to become the first non-white player to represent England at international level before he was denied the opportunity when selectors were made aware that he was "a man of colour".[2] As a consequence, it wasn't until 1978 that Viv Anderson became the first black player to appear in an England shirt. Leslie enjoyed a 13-year spell with Plymouth Argyle, having joined the club from Barking Town in 1921. A creator and scorer of goals, his partnership with outside left Sammy Black has gone down in history as one of their very best.[3] The duo scored 319 goals between them in all competitions, with Leslie contributing 137 of them. In 1930, The Herald described him as "known throughout England for his skill and complexion."

Life and career[edit]

Leslie was born in Canning Town, London, and played for local team, Barking Town, before joining Plymouth Argyle in 1921. Leslie scored over 400 goals in his career, 134 of those for Plymouth in 400 appearances. He retired from football in 1935.

Leslie played at centre-forward and over the next thirteen years he scored 131 goals in 383 games. A call-up to the national team was cancelled when officials realised he was a "a man of colour"; his manager, Bob Jack, told him he had been selected to play for England. However, the invitation to play for his country was withdrawn. Leslie told the journalist, Brian Woolnough: "They must have forgot I was a coloured boy".[4] Leslie retired from professional football in 1934.

He later worked as a member of the backroom staff of his local club, West Ham United, as the boot-boy.[5] He died in 1988.

Honours[edit]

Plymouth Argyle

Career statistics[edit]

Club Division Season League FA Cup Club Total International Total Games
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Plymouth Argyle Third 1921–22 9 0 - - 9 0 - - 9 0
Third 1922–23 6 3 1 0 7 3 - - 7 3
Third 1923–24 17 5 - - 17 5 - - 17 5
Third 1924–25 40 14 1 0 41 14 - - 41 14
Third 1925–26 40 17 1 0 41 17 - - 41 17
Third 1926–27 33 14 1 0 34 14 - - 34 14
Third 1927–28 41 15 1 0 42 15 - - 42 15
Third 1928–29 41 21 4 1 45 22 - - 45 22
Third 1929–30 32 8 4 1 36 9 - - 36 9
Second 1930–31 39 9 1 0 40 9 - - 40 9
Second 1931–32 41 20 2 1 43 21 - - 43 21
Second 1932–33 33 4 1 1 34 5 - - 34 5
Second 1933–34 11 2 - - 11 2 - - 11 2
Second 1934–35 1 1 - - 1 1 - - 1 1
Total 384 133 17 4 401 137 0 0 401 137
Career Totals 384 133 17 4 401 137 0 0 401 137

References[edit]

  1. ^ Joyce, Michael (2004). Football League Players' Records 1888 to 1939. Nottingham: SoccerData. p. 156. ISBN 1-899468-67-6. 
  2. ^ "Jack Leslie". BBC South West. Retrieved 7 February 2010.
  3. ^ Danes (2009), Complete Record, p. 104.
  4. ^ "England's Black Players". England Football Online. Retrieved 29 April 2008. 
  5. ^ Knight, Brian (1989). Plymouth Argyle A Complete Record 1903–1989. p. 88. ISBN 0-907969-40-2. 

External links[edit]